My Tria arrived this a.m.. I’ve unpacked it from its decorative box, read the enclosed manual, and commenced my first use (the device arrives partially charged, so it did not take long to prepare).
From my salon experience, I am aware that the best sign of a follicle’s root being destroyed is the hot pin-prick sensation that at worst rises to the sensation of a popcorn kernel immolating within your skin. And I am aware that it is this “worst” sensation that is in fact the “best”, for it signifies a direct hit; the full absorption of the laser’s energy into the follicle’s root, where it turns into heat — the sizzle hopefully burning out that follicle’s ability to grow. Or at least, reducing its ability substantially — resulting in finer, lighter hair.
Using the Tria on a test area of my skin*, I felt this direct hit occur less often than in a professional salon, but often enough to affirm that the Tria does indeed do what it is designed to do. I’d reckon that I felt one-fourth as many sizzles, perhaps one-fifth. Clearly, a salon laser is more powerful. The Tria is most likely having the most effect on the thicker, darker hairs that are the best candidates to absorb the laser energy, whereas a salon laser will affect those dark hairs as well as less-dark hairs, simply due to the amount of energy a professional laser puts out. (Like any laser, light hairs can not be affected; the same principle is at work when you wear a black shirt in the direct sunlight versus wearing a white shirt in direct sunlight. The black shirt absorbs more of the light energy and heats rapidly and uncomfortably, whereas the white shirt does not).
Some models of salon lasers compensate for the discomfort of the higher energy by releasing a burst of frozen moisture or compressed air onto your skin the moment after the laser fires. Obviously the Tria does not, but neither does it have the need, as the discomfort is quite less. Unlike in a salon, there is no smell of burnt hair, and, there is no hour of redness, nor any need for a soothing moisturizer after the treatment.
Before I conclude these initial impressions I should note that since I am treating areas of my skin where I have previously had salon treatments, one must consider that I have fewer of the thick, dark follicles to begin with, as as such may be experiencing fewer direct hits than would a person starting out fresh. A better test of the Tria may be areas that are as-yet untouched by the laser. And I shall get to those.
But I believe the eventual assessment of the Tria will be as I predicted before I even purchased it; that the Tria best serves to touch up professional treatments; otherwise, there will be lighter (but still dark) hairs; these hairs will simply will not be hit hard enough by the Tria to be eliminated. They may however grow in finer, since I could feel these weaker follicles heating up, even if they did not sizzle. The heat promises to damage those follicles, if not destroy them (and the pleasant result of damage is finer hairs). Make no mistake — the Tria’s laser is heating the follicles as promised. But only a fourth or a fifth of them to what I’ve come to know as their breaking point.
Other notes and initial observations: Very difficult to zap the fingers and toes, since the entire triangular head of the device must be in contact with the skin in order for the laser to fire. This is a safety precaution meant to prevent any laser light from escaping in space between the laser and the skin (since goggles to protect the eyes are not provided), but it also means that the naturally tubular shapes of fingers lack the width required to make full contact. With some effort, I could pull my skin away from the bone to provide the flatness required, but people with smaller fingers (or dare I say, tighter skin) will have difficulty.
As for battery life, I managed to do about 20 square inches before it needed recharging; this is not a drawback, but rather an indication of how much power the Tria needs — far more than what an electrical outlet provides. It uses a battery not for convenience but simply because it needs to store up enough energy over the course of a 3-hour charge in order to run for about 20 minutes. I’m looking forward to continuing later today.
*I tested the Tria at its full power, aware that the Tria’s full power setting is still less power than the settings I’ve received at my local salon. People without such awareness should not start at full power.
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